The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? — 1 Corinthians 6:7
I have a friend that, to me, has been done as wrong as anyone has ever been done wrong. Every time I hang out with him, I think of this wrong and pretty much the same Bible verse passes through my mind. The verse comes from James and John when the people were treating Jesus rather badly. When they witnessed it with their own eyes, they said, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to destroy them?” (Luke 9:54) I honestly think those exact words in my mind. I want so badly for the Lord to just lay the smack down on the people hurting him the most.
The crazy thing about it is that he thinks I’m being done wrong by some different people. When we talk, it turns out that what bothers me about his situation doesn’t bother him nearly as much as I think it should. In return, the thing that bothers him about me doesn’t bother me that much. As we talk month after month, I’m beginning to wonder if this is some of what it means to “carry one another’s burdens” as mentioned in Galatians 6.
Here is the thing: This last time I was calling down fire from heaven in my mind, God spoke to my heart. “Adam, if I did ‘punish’ them in a way you saw fit, would you be happy about it?” As always when God speaks to me, it flooded my mind with thoughts. Thoughts of how I’d never want my own kids to gloat over someone else’s pain . . . even if they did deserve it. Thoughts of how God has more than withheld the punishments I have deserved. If I’m asking God to judge them, would I be ok asking Him to judge me in the same way? Suddenly, it didn’t feel so great to call down that fire from heaven.
God is making every person who has given his or her life to Him into the image of His Son. The last thing He wants is a child of His gloating, pointing, and saying, “Ha-ha . . . you got what you deserved!” I can’t believe I was about to let that live inside of me. All I can say is that God is good, God is corrective in the best of ways, and God expects His children to represent Him well . . . to everyone.
Lord, I’m sorry for the times I don’t represent You well. I’m sorry for calling down fire from heaven. I’m sorry that I can be a “son of thunder.” We will be wronged in this life, but this life is so temporary. Help me to keep that in mind. Help me to want the absolute best for others. Keep me on this narrow road that leads to life. Thank You for all that you have shown me and taught me in 30 years of following You. I look so forward to the day when my faith becomes sight. Amen